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Posts tagged ‘Protests in Spain’

Thousands protest Spain’s dispersion policy for ETA inmates

January 14, 2017

BILBAO, Spain (AP) — Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in the Basque city of Bilbao, calling for some 350 imprisoned members and sympathizers of the armed pro-Basque independence group ETA to be allowed serve their sentences closer to home in northern Spain.

In addition to prisoners’ families and pro-independence politicians, some relatives of ETA victims took part for the first time in the annual demonstration. Protesters marched through the city holding placards that read “I Denounce” the Spanish government’s policy of dispersing ETA prisoners in 40 prisons across Spain to restrict contacts between them.

Rosa Rodero, widow of a police sergeant assassinated by the ETA in 1993, marched behind a banner reading “Basque prisoners to the Basque Country.” “All people here in the Basque country, we have fought a lot, we had to suffer a lot. The only thing we want is that peace comes and that peace is also given to these people,” she said, referring to the prisoners.

ETA killed 829 people in its nearly four-decade campaign to create a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France. The group announced a permanent cease-fire in 2011, but Spain’s Interior Ministry says there will be no change in its dispersion policy until the group fully disarms and its members ask for pardons.

But AVT, the largest association of relatives of terror victims, urged that any movement of prisoners be done only on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons. “I don’t think the victims of ETA should support having their assassins closer to home just because the ETA stopped killing five years ago,” said AVT president Alfonso Sanchez, who survived an ETA bombing in 1985.

Last month Spanish and French police made five arrests after discovering a suspected ETA weapons trove in southern France. The Interior Ministry refuses to say how many ETA prisoners are jailed in Spain but the protest organizers say there are 273 ETA prisoners in Spain but just two in the Basque region. Another 78 are in French jails. They say many relatives and friends have to travel hundreds of kilometers (miles) to visit the ETA inmates.

Amnesty International says the dispersion policy goes against U.N. standards. The economically powerful Basque region is one of 17 semi-autonomous regions in Spain. Opinion polls have long indicated a majority of its 2.2 million residents do not favor splitting from Spain.

Associated Press writers Ciaran Giles and Aritz Parra in Madrid contributed to this report.

Spain: Scuffles during protest against leftist Podemos party

May 30, 2015

MADRID (AP) — Scuffles have broken out during a small demonstration against the radical leftist Podemos (We Can) party in Madrid six days after local elections boosted its power base in several of Spain’s regions.

Around 200 protesters gathered in downtown Colon Square carrying Spanish flags and shouting slogans against Podemos after the ballot had given them sufficient votes to negotiate the balance of power in the local government.

One journalist had his camera broken and several others were showered with abuse and pushed around before police intervened to break up the demonstration. Lawyer Teresa Barrios said she was protesting peacefully when “some unpleasant” characters arrived and “began acting aggressively against members of the press.”

Barrios said the main purpose of the protest was to stop Madrid’s government lurching to the far left.

Thousands of Spaniards protest proposed security law

January 25, 2015

MADRID (AP) — Thousands of protesters are marching in Spanish cities to express their opposition to a proposed law that would set hefty fines for offenses like demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations.

Parliament approved the Public Security Law last month and it’s expected to become official in February if passed by the government-controlled Senate. Protesters with tape over their mouths and carrying banners calling the measures a “gagging law” gathered Sunday near Spain’s parliament under heavy police surveillance.

The bill is heavily criticized by opposition parties and human rights groups as an attempt by the government to muzzle protests over its handling of Spain’s financial crisis. The law would allow fines of up to 600,000 euros ($745,000) for individuals demonstrating outside key buildings if they are deemed to breach the peace.

Spaniards protest their nation’s proposed security law

December 20, 2014

MADRID (AP) — Thousands of people protested in Spanish cities on Saturday against a proposed law that would set hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations.

The Public Security Law was approved by one house of parliament last week and is expected to be accepted by the other government-controlled one next month. The bill has been heavily criticized by opposition parties and human rights groups as an attempt by the conservative government to muzzle protests over its handling of Spain’s financial crisis.

Saturday’s largest demonstrations occurred in cities such as Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid, while smaller ones took place in Almeria, Granada and Valencia. Some protesters wore tape covering their mouths and carried placards calling the measures a “gagging law.”

The proposed law would allow fines of up to 30,000 euros ($37,000) for disseminating photographs of police officers that are deemed to endanger them or their operations. Individuals participating in demonstrations outside parliament buildings or key installations would be fined up to 600,000 euros ($745,000), if they are considered to breach the peace. Those insulting police officers could be fined up 600 euros ($745). Burning a national flag could cost the perpetrator a maximum fine of 30,000 euros.

The protests — which saw demonstrators mingling with large crowds of Christmas shoppers in some cities — ended peacefully. Police in Madrid forced media photographers to produce identity papers. The demonstrators included groups opposed to forced evictions because the bill would levy fines of 30,000 euros for attempting to prevent home repossessions.

Others protested an element of the legislation that would entitle police in Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to summarily expel migrants caught trying to enter Europe by storming border fences.

Anti-austerity protests: Spain, Germany, Portugal

June 1, 2013

By HAROLD HECKLE

Associated Press

MADRID — Anti-austerity protesters on Saturday took to the streets of dozens of European cities, including Madrid, Frankfurt and Lisbon, to express their anger at government cuts they say are making the financial crisis worse by stifling growth and increasing unemployment.

Thousands marched peacefully toward Madrid’s central Neptuno fountain near Parliament, chanting “Government, resign.”

Around 15,000 people gathered outside the International Monetary Fund’s headquarters in Lisbon shouting “IMF, out of here.”

Many protesters were carrying banners saying, “No more cuts” and “Screw the Troika,” a reference to the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the three-member group that bailed out the governments of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus.

The bailout loans were given on the understanding that governments enact stringent austerity measures to rein in their heavily indebted finances.

Spain came perilously close to needing a sovereign bailout last year and was forced to negotiate a 40 billion euro ($52 billion) loan for its stricken banking system when its borrowing costs soared.

The country has been in recession for most of the past four years and has a record 27.2 percent unemployment rate. The percentage is twice that high for Spaniards under 25 years old.

Spain has since seen almost daily protests by people angry over money-saving cuts and reforms in the education and health sectors while failing banks received billions.

Spain’s central and regional governments claim the cuts are needed to help the country reduce its swollen deficit to within agreed upon European Union limits.

“It’s obvious that the intention of those governing us is not to take a single step back,” said Madrid fireman Eduardo Oliva, 43. “So, it’s in our hands, in all European citizens’ hands, to demand change. Otherwise life’s going to become impossible for us.”

Portugal pledged to cut its debt in return for a 78 billion euro ($101 billion) bailout two years ago, but tax hikes and pay cuts have contributed to a sharp economic downturn. The country is forecast to post a third straight year of recession in 2013 while unemployment has climbed to 17.7 percent and is forecast to keep on rising.

Also Saturday, German police and thousands of anti-capitalist protesters engaged in a standoff near the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Police in Germany’s financial capital said about 7,000 protesters refused to move after officers encircled a group of about 200-300 people because they refused to remove face masks they were wearing.

Organizers of the “Blockupy” protest said up to 20,000 people had demonstrated against the ECB’s role in pushing European countries to cut government spending as part of efforts to reduce public debt.

Frankfurt police spokesman Erich Mueller said officers had used pepper spray and batons to stop some protesters from breaking through police lines.

Other protests Saturday took place in European cities including Barcelona, Brussels, Bilbao and Valencia.

“Like so many people, I’m really upset at the behavior of our governments because they have totally caved in just to prop up the banks,” said Jesus Alonso, 63, in Madrid.

Source: The Seattle Times.

Link: http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2021101561_apeuspainfinancialcrisis.html.

Spain anti-austerity protesters clash with police

March 22, 2014

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police and protesters clashed during an anti-austerity demonstration that drew tens of thousands of people to central Madrid on Saturday. Police said in a statement that six officers were injured and 12 people were arrested.

As a final speech was being given, some protesters attempted to break through a police barrier and make their way toward the nearby headquarters of the governing conservative Popular Party. Riot police then charged the protesters, who hurled bottles and other objects, and beat them back with batons.

One police vehicle and a bank were damaged by protesters. It wasn’t immediately clear how many protesters were injured, and if anybody was seriously hurt on either side. Protesters say Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has eroded Spain’s much-valued public health and education systems, while saddling Spaniards with sky-high unemployment and more debt.

Six columns of protesters — each from a different region of Spain — had arrived at the outskirts of the city early Saturday before heading for Colon square, carrying banners bearing the slogan “Marching for Dignity.”

By late afternoon, Madrid’s principal boulevard, Paseo del Prado, was packed with people chanting against government’s austerity policies and the cuts they have entailed. “I don’t want corruption, government cuts and unemployment,” said office worker Susana Roldan, 24. “What I want is a secure future in Spain.”

Rajoy’s conservative government has a large parliamentary majority, enabling it to push through waves of austerity-driven, unpopular tax hikes and government program cutbacks since taking office in 2011, in a bid to reduce Spain’s budget deficit.

Spain’s economy began to crumble in 2008 with the collapse of its bloated real-estate sector. It emerged from a two-year recession late last year as investor confidence returned and the country’s borrowing costs dropped from perilously high levels in 2012 to pre-crisis rates this year. But unemployment is still cripplingly high at 26 percent, leading many to seek work oversees.

The protest includes trade unions, civil servants and organizations representing people evicted from their homes for not being able to make mortgage payments after losing their jobs. One woman carried a banner saying, “My daughter can’t be here because she’s had to emigrate.”

Spaniards protest Coca Cola layoffs

Sun Feb 16, 2014

Thousands of Spaniards have taken part in a protest against controversial plans by Coca Cola Company to close some of its bottling factories, resulting in the layoff of many workers in the southwestern European country.

Demonstrators, wearing red caps and vests with the logo of the giant US drinks company, took to the streets in the Spanish capital Madrid on Saturday while carrying banners calling for a boycott of Coca Cola.

General Secretary of the General Union of Workers (UGT) Candido Mendez and leader of the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) Fernandez Toxo headed the protest rally.

Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, the company’s Spanish subsidiary, announced in January that it would shutter four of its 11 plants in about three weeks in the northwestern Asturias region, the Balearic Islands, near Madrid and in Alicante.

The move is expected to affect some 1,250 jobs, with 750 employees being laid off and 500 others relocated.

The company, however, insists that the closures are needed to improve efficiency, but workers describe the layoffs as unjustified since the company is making profit.

Earlier this month, crowds estimated to be about 2,000 marched in Madrid and the eastern city of Alicante over Coca Cola job cuts.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/350963.html.

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